Hamas talks with the United Nations on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip have failed, the group’s leader said at the enclave.
“It was a bad meeting and it was completely negative,” Yahya Sinwar said on Monday.
“The meeting with the UN delegation was comprehensive and they listened to us. But, unfortunately, there are no indications of intentions to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
Sinwar made the remarks during a briefing after the meeting in Gaza City with a UN delegation, including the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland.
Sinwar also accused Israel of “blackmailing Palestinian factions, including Hamas” into resolving the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
The latest developments come less than a month after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire that would end an 11-day Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip on May 21.
The Israeli attack killed at least 257 Palestinians, including 66 children. Thirteen people died in Israel, including two children.
The Israeli attacks also destroyed 1,148 homes and businesses in Gaza and partially damaged an additional 15,000 people, leaving more than 100,000 civilians displaced in UN-run schools and other host communities.
Israeli media reported that Sinwar threatened an escalation of tensions with Israel if it did not allow Qatar to transfer $ 30 million in funds to the Gaza Strip to help pay salaries.
Qatar has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in cash in recent years to allow Hamas, which governs Gaza, to pay for fuel for the Strip’s power plant, civil servants’ salaries and provide aid to tens of thousands of impoverished families. .
Earlier this month, Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said at a financial conference in St. Petersburg that the oil-rich Gulf country had invested about $ 1.4 billion. in Gaza since 2012.
Meanwhile, Gaza’s bottling company Pepsi was forced to halt operations (leaving hundreds out of work) this week due to restrictions on Israeli imports that tightened during the 11-day Israeli attack on Gaza, according to say the owners of the company.
With the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Israel on Monday allowed a limited resumption of enclave exports.
But it has maintained tough measures on imports of raw materials, including the gases and carbon dioxide syrup that the bottling company’s factory needs to produce soft drinks, said Pepsi Gaza’s Hamam al-Yazeji.
“Yesterday we completely ran out of raw materials and unfortunately we had to close the factory and send 250 workers home,” Yazeji said.
Prior to last month’s fighting, he said, Pepsi Gaza was generally allowed to import the necessary materials.
Analysts could also bring to a halt in other factories in Gaza if Israeli restrictions are maintained.
According to UN data, manufacturing accounts for about 10% of Gaza’s service-dominated economy.
Asked for comment, COGAT, a branch of Israel’s defense ministry, said: “Due to the security situation, the import of industrial raw materials from the State of Israel into the Gaza Strip is not possible. “.
COGAT said Israel allowed other imports into Gaza, including fuels, food, medicine and medical equipment.
Israel and neighboring Egypt maintain close control over Gaza’s borders and say restrictions are needed to let the weapons reach Hamas and prevent them from occurring locally.
Egypt and the UN intensified mediation last week after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza challenged the fragile ceasefire.